For Kody McKinley, the end of the journey didn’t exactly turn out the way he thought, but he’s going to continue what he loves – play football.
The McGavock quarterback had to give up his dream of playing major college football, but set his sights on West Tennessee, where he will play for NAIA Bethel University.
“I can’t tell you all the schools I heard from during my junior year,” McKinley, who was one of the leading quarterbacks in Nashville last fall when he passed for more than 1,800 yards (for the second straight year) and threw for 21 touchdowns and led the 8-3 Raiders to the Class 6A playoffs.
“I heard from almost all the SEC schools, Western Kentucky, MTSU, Furman, Southern Illinois, then my senior year, I didn’t hear back from hardly any of them,” McKinley said.
It is a situation many promising high school seniors encounter – extreme interest by colleges early, then as schools start to land players, they back off of others.
“It was like the schools all got the big names they were after, and I was really to give up,” McKinley said. “It looked like I was just going to have to go to work, because paying to go to college was too much of a financial obstacle for my parents. Lots of schools offered me a chance as a preferred walk-on, but that still meant I had to pay my way, and things were looking too difficult for me at that point.
“Then Bethel called two weeks ago, and offered me a scholarship, a full ride, it just came out of the blue. It’s great because they have several guys on their team from Nashville, Keith Perry [from Hillsboro] among them, guys who I know. I think I will have a chance to play if I come in and work hard.”
“It [recruiting] is an inexact science,” McGavock coach Jay Gore said. “Sometimes schools show a great deal of interest in someone, then the guy they really want commits to them and that leaves out the other guy. And connections help.
“Sometimes, schools have an overload at one position like quarterback. And things like grades go into it, but that wasn’t an issue with Kody, because he makes good grades. Austin Peay wanted him to walk on and I firmly believe he could have played there. Kody’s got two things you need ,size and good feet. He went to a quarterback tryouts camp at Tusculum, and I felt like he performed the best of the five quarterbacks.”
• Metro Hall of Fame inducts eight: The Metro Nashville Public Schools will induct eight people into its Sports Hall of Fame class at a luncheon Tuesday at LP Field.
They include: Bob Dudley Smith, a former West High (1948) and Vanderbilt basketball star, Walter Overton, a former Pearl High (1970) and Vanderbilt football star, basketball stars Carolyn Aldridge of Glencliff (1992), Brenda Moon Davis of Goodlettsville (1965), and football stars Brian Ransom of North High (1979), Shelton Quarles of Whites Creek (1990), Jonathan Quinn of McGavock (1993) and the late Doug Hall of Hume-Fogg (1943), later an esteemed track coach at Hillwood.
• Moss-Oliver awards presented Wednesday: The finalists for the annual Moss-Oliver awards have been announced.
They include: Jacob Turner, Lipscomb; Jordan Kendrick, M.L.King, and Blake Mitchell, Ezell-Harding (boys), along with Andrea Kinzer, Whites Creek; Dominique Hannah, Overton and Erika Cook, Hunters Lane (girls).
The winners will be announced following an 11:30 a.m. luncheon Wednesday at Swett’s Restaurant.
• MBA upends defending lacrosse champ: MBA knocked off two-time defending state lacrosse champ McCallie 11-8 over the weekend in Chattanooga.
Clay Adams (four goals) MBA (8-2, 5-0) with help from Ben Charpentier and Connor Pagnani (three goals each).
MBA next hosts the Brentwood Lacrosse Club Tuesday.
The school also will host the annual Doug Hall Relays Saturday, with 20 boys and 20 girls teams in the field.